Maundy Thursday. Presence

Lord Show me your face today.

The Jesuit Priest Anthony DeMello wrote: “Peace is only found in the yes.” This prayer has always redirected my need to plan and prepare. The peace that is found in the yes is a constant reminder to sit in the sacred present and focus on what is found in the holy moment. We cannot respond affirmatively if we do not take the time to stop and listen to the question.

As we begin the Paschal Triduum, (the three days that begin with the liturgy on Maundy Thursday and closes with evening prayer on Easter Sunday), the need for being sacredly present takes on more profound meaning. During this time of physical distancing, each moment provides the opportunity to heighten our practice of presence. Being watchful to the Holy Mystery entering and unfolding into our lives at any given moment. 

In the pre-pandemic world, we were accustomed to looking ahead. To accomplish and move on to the next project. While admirable, this path consumes our lives (it is a constant battle). In this period of isolation, this path has taken a new form. Perhaps we search for those things that will keep us busy, mark off the hours absently, or grasp for anything to abate the dreaded boredom. The search function on Netflix must be the most used feature for the streaming service over the last three weeks.  

Our fear has come into focus. We ask the questions in our minds: What may happen? Illness? Loss of income? Often, we worry about a spouse, members of our family, or friends. We are encased in this worry about an uncertain future. Yet, all that we have is the present moment, and we are not guaranteed the next moment. Therefore, each moment that God shares and, those that follow, should be held with the same loving care and presence as the last.  

Over these next three days, I invite you to pray over and imagine these moments that are foundational to our faith. Place yourself in the Gospel story and embody the importance of the sacred presence. Jesus bends down, picks up your tired feet, looks in your eyes, and begins to wash them. You are at his side, he passes you the bread and says these words to you “Take, eat, this is my body.” You are staring at the pain and horror of the cross, Jesus looks down and into your eyes, and all you see is love. That moment where you sit in the uncertainty of Holy Saturday, wondering if you will ever see the light of the dawn or will your life be cast into perpetual darkness, and then, you hear the earth groaning and awakening.   

Now, move to Easter Sunday, and a glorious light begins to appear and fills the cracks of the shuttered windows. If you are looking beyond, you will miss the moment as the light unfolds and envelopes your despair. You do not want to miss the moment you hear all the voices proclaiming, “The tomb is empty, He is Risen.”

God is always seeking, often silently, to touch our lives. Our soul is still longing for the mystery of what is revealed in the present. Remove the chatter, the clutter, and the need for immediate answers. Love God in the moment. 

The past is gone. The future hasn’t happened. The present moment is the awakening of grace. In the sacred moment, now and each moment forward, feel the holy breath of God saying, “you are mine.” Peace is only found in the yes. That yes to the knowledge that Jesus is with us. Lord, please, please show me your face at this sacred moment.

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